“… I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10b
One statement of Jesus that profoundly and significantly impacts me is “…I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
I read and memorized this verse when I was a small kid attending one of the summertime Daily Vacation Bible School or DVBS.
What started then as rote memorization became a journey gradually to my search for the ‘abundant life.’
I was born to parents who are both theology graduates, and I grew up with them working from church to church.
Because we lived from parsonage to parsonage, I would often say jokingly, “no permanent address,” when asked where we lived.
Experiencing the economic and psychological hardships and challenges of being a son of a rural pastor, I would always wonder about that abundant life that the Great Teacher said He came for us to have.
Also, how can I affirm my confidence in the abundant life that Jesus Christ promised when I experienced injustice, dishonesty, corruption, jealousy, envy, and all kinds of strife through and among his very faithful followers?
Where is an abundance when the people of God would go through hunger and poverty because opportunities have become scarce after making a stand for what is right?
Of course, it is easy to understand what abundant life is in the context of the material world.
I grew up with the carnal understanding that to live a life of plenty is always to have more than enough food to eat. You have lots of money to experience an affluent lifestyle, like a good house, cars, travels, parties, and anything a person or family could wish for.
Thus, while keeping my heart and mind the questions, I chartered my course toward prosperity.
My goals were to study hard in high school to get a college scholarship, graduate from a course that would be my ticket to high-paying jobs, do well in my chosen career, and live comfortably in affluence.
Then I was on my way to fulfilling my goals, sailing smoothly and successfully achieving victories left and right.
However, later on, after almost a decade of searching and chasing, I reflected on all my striving and struggling, using all the gifts God endowed me to gain the prosperity that I sought. I found myself living a meaningless life.
I exhausted all means to meet my goals, but I found out that when everything in life redounds to achieving financial gain, compromising the fundamental values of truth and justice, I can not find real peace and happiness.
So, where could I find true abundant life if it is not present in having material affluence alone?
In late 1995, I worked in Manila for almost two years. I resigned from my job with an international NGO, which I found a corrupt organization. I prayed and reflected on the Lord’s direction for my life.
Finally, after many years of a tiring journey, my search led me to one great discovery – that abundant life is using my fullest potential for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Yes, I discovered that living my life to the fullest is having all my faculties, availability, and resources of good use for the glory of God.
From the list of my work experiences, I noticed that there were productivity, development, and positive, memorable moments in the workplaces where I’ve been, where my full potential is acknowledged and used fully.
Life has never been so fulfilling when you are doing something that uses all your God-given gifts, regardless of whether or not you have money in your pocket. This statement might sound fatalistic to some of you, but I call it faith in God’s provision.
Surprisingly, the more I focused on having my fullest potential be used for him, the more provisions kept coming and coming – I have discovered the abundant life.
He will provide you with sincere and well-meant people who will join you in your quest for an abundant life.
I wrote this reflection in 2011 when I could only point to a few testimonies of God’s goodness. Nevertheless, I kept my faith in following the abundant life criterion that I discovered and experienced – “using my fullest potential for the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Today, 23 June 2022, I look back to count God’s abundance and name them one by one.
Remember that God’s abundant blessings aren’t counted nor defined according to the world’s materialistic standards.
Blessings include trials of various kinds that have been building my family and me in steadfast faith through the years.
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.James 1:2-4
Indeed, Jesus Christ has come to give life and have it abundantly.
PHOTO CREDIT: Joven Baloyo